- Honorary Degree (1998)
Doctor of Music
Presenter: Myles Neil Brand
BIOGRAPHYRenowned pianist and conductor Karl Haas hosts the public radio program ADVENTURES IN GOOD MUSIC, which for nearly 40 years has provided an informative and captivating exploration of classical music to listeners around the world.
Haas was born in Germany in 1916. He studied at the Mannheim Conservatory and the University of Heidelberg, then left for the United States in the 1930s as the threat of Nazism was spreading. He settled in Detroit, where he attended the city's Netzorg School of Music. He also regularly commuted to New York to study with legendary pianist Artur Schnabel. His broadcast career began in 1950 with the hosting of a weekly preview of concerts by the Detroit Symphony. In 1959 Detroit radio station WJR offered Haas the opportunity to create his own daily one-hour program on which he could present both music and commentary. ADVENTURES IN GOOD MUSIC—the longest-running and most listened-to daily program of classical music in the world—has been on the air ever since. Today it is broadcast in more than 200 cities in the United States and by 400 U.S. Armed Forces Network stations on all continents; among its many international versions is a French production in Canada and a Spanish production in Mexico City. "ADVENTURES IN GOOD MUSIC manages to erase the line which often separates entertainment and education; it addresses itself to a wide audience of professionals, amateurs, and just plain music lovers," observes Bernhard Heiden, professor emeritus of music at Indiana University.
ADVENTURES IN GOOD MUSIC has twice been awarded the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting. Haas has received both the OFFICIER D'ACADEMIE and the CHEVALIER DE VORDRE DES ARTS ET LETTRES from the French government. Germany has awarded him its First Class Order of Merit. In 1991 Haas received the National Endowment for the Humanities' prestigious Charles Frankel Award at a White House ceremony. In 1997 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, the first and only classical broadcaster who has received this honor.
Haas maintains an active performance schedule, regularly selling out halls around the country. In the fall of 1997, for example, he gave his fortieth concert series at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the live version of ADVENTURES IN GOOD MUSIC, to a standing-room-only audience. He has guest-conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra (after being named Person of the Year by the city's radio station WCRB) and the Buffalo Philharmonic (in a benefit concert for the orchestra, which was struggling financially). "He never seems to tire of his lifelong goal," writes IU Professor of Journalism Peter Jacobi, "to bring the joys of music, good music, to the many."
Throughout his career, Haas has supported music programs at Indiana University. He first presented a series of lectures and concerts on the Bloomington campus in the 1950s at the invitation of School of Music Dean Wilfred C. Bain. Since then he has returned to participate in concerts to benefit music scholarship funds. He also delivered the eulogy at the memorial tribute to his longtime friend, the distinguished IU professor and world-renowned violinist Josef Gingold. In the fall of 1998 Haas will present a series of lectures at IU Bloomington on art and music. Haas has authored a definitive reference book, INSIDE MUSIC, now in its tenth printing. His best-selling recordings, including THE ROMANTIC PIANO and STORY OF THE BELLS, are considered classics.